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From suicide to surfing: Generation X and visions of a fulfilled life


Black, R, From suicide to surfing: Generation X and visions of a fulfilled life, The Way, Supplement 98 pp. 63-74. ISSN 0043-1575 (2000) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2010 The Way


Surfing and suicide are the polarities of Generation X. For this twenty- to thirty-something cohort of western youth, change is the central motif of their lives. Some have learnt to surf this wave of change much as. they 'surf the net'. Guided by the aesthetic of sensual saturation, they alight on sites that entertain, inform or titillate. Few of these sites, whether in cyberspace or the material world, become permanent bookmarks in the favourites folder as they search for the next rush of the constantly shaken cultural kaleidoscope. This is a heady world full of possibility for those with the education and opportunities.

For those without access to the elevators of advancement, however, the prospect is confinement to urban gulags of economic deprivation and social breakdown. Faced with the emptiness of such an existence, some resort to a cocktail of risk and drugs to re-colour their world, while others yield their lives to the black alchemy of despair. In alarming numbers, even those with possibility set before them are joining the ranks of the youthful disappeared, as they fail to hold the pieces of their lives together, or as they discover that beneath the surface upon which they play there is, finally, nothing. If we are to understand the visions of a fulfilled life held or lost by this generation, where X stands for change, then we need to take account of both where they are now and where they are going. Our path for pursuing this inquiry will be to consider a careful piece of qualitative social research into an important segment of this group. We will then be able to deepen the insights this research offers by relating it to leading contemporary sociological and cultural theory. Through this analysis, we will be able to offer a hypothesis about the changing nature of Generation X's visions of life. Significantly, we will suggest that the recovery of a broader vision of the fulfilling life may have an important part to play in shaping these future visions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Religious studies
Research Field:Religion, society and culture
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Religion
Objective Field:Religion and society
UTAS Author:Black, R (Professor Rufus Black)
ID Code:125710
Year Published:2000
Deposited By:Vice-Chancellors Office
Deposited On:2018-05-01
Last Modified:2018-08-24

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